Becoming Us: Travelers on the Jimmy Come Lately Road

Monday, November 4, 2019

Becoming Us: Travelers on the Jimmy Come Lately Road
Judy Bordeaux, 2019

Premise: This gentle memoir traces three generations making their way in America.

Judy Bordeaux passed away in 2018. She was a fantastic storyteller. I knew her briefly because we sang with the same chorus. The introduction to this book explains how it was completed posthumously.

I expected this to be well written and entertaining, but it also has a quiet depth that I really enjoyed.

The book tells the story of her family through parallel struggles and situations faced by her grandparents, her parents, and herself. Some of the vignettes chronicle significant events, others the small adventures of life. Around the edges of many of the stories lurks the racism faced by her Japanese grandfather and half-Japanese father. The author uses her ancestors' stories to color her own experiences.

Between the focus on the immigrant experience and the setting here in Washington state, this is a strongly American story. It doesn't feature action or much drama, but instead dwells with delight on small details and the specialness of every life.

Reading this book made me more curious about my own family history, and reminded me that everyone's story has something interesting about it.

4 Stars - A Very Good Book

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